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Telstra has laid out plans to boost its 4GX capabilities, while also looking ahead to 5G development, building to an anticipated commercial network launch by around 2020.Telstra is partnering with Ericsson and Qualcomm to build on its 4GX rollout, looking to deploy LTE-Advanced Cat 9 network coverage, capable of peak network speeds of up to 450 Mbps, in selected capital city CBDs by April.

Compatible devices will follow later in the year.

“We are working with a range of device manufacturers to release LTE-A Cat 9 compatible devices, and anticipate the release of a Netgear hotspot device later this year,” commented Telstra Group managing director networks Mike Wright.

“In addition, we’re in discussions with a range of smartphone manufacturers about bringing Cat 9 handsets to Australia, with the first expected to be on-market as early as the end of 2015.”

Telstra is also working towards the deployment of LTE Broadcast technology by May, ahead of commercial trials and a full customer launch planned for later in the year.

As part of its deployment, Telstra will progressively enable permanent LTE-B channels at key venues and major events, initially for testing before launch.

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) has been slated a full commercial launch later in the year, with VoLTE capabilities to be enabled across Telstra’s 4G coverage area in April.

Meanwhile, Telstra will commence foundational 5G work with Ericsson, building towards its anticipated 2020 launch.

Teams from both organisations will work together on lab and field-based testing, while adapting the evolving 5G industry standards.

“A 5G world is rapidly moving from concept to reality,” Wright commented.

“The earlier we start on the development and integration of the ecosystem into our current network operations, the better the outcome for our customers.”

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